The Serve Houston Youth Corps is a classic mentoring program for children of 19 elementary schools in Houston's inner city. Martin Cominsky, a concerned citizen, started the program in 1993. Mr. Cominsky is the president and CEO of Serve Houston Youth Corps, before that he was the head of the Business Volunteers for the Arts, a national program in New York City, for five years. The inspiration for Serve Houston Youth Corps came from the passing of the National Community Service Trust Act, as well as the National Service Program and AmeriCorps.
About 120 young adults, ages 18-25, are recruited, trained and placed in caring roles as mentors and tutors to these elementary school kids. In addition the mentors also try to inspire and encourage others to volunteer. They address the resources deemed necessary at the Presidents' Summit for America's Future. Because of this program, 19 elementary schools in Houston have access to an after-school tutoring and recreation program, through which about 800 children are reached on a daily basis.
The Serve Houston Youth Corps have several goals in mind when they are working with these children. They try to help increase school’s standardized testing achievement; they also provide a safe place for children to play and learn instead of the streets. Their final goal is to provide a role model that a child can look up to.
The Serve Houston Youth Corps are part of the AmeriCorps program. Funding comes from a variety of sources including grants from the state service commission and business sponsorship. 10 to 15 mentors make a team and each team is sponsored by a business, like Exxon or Arthur Andersen LLP and a percentage of the money from the grant is matched by that business.